BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Scotland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 24 October, 2002, 08:19 GMT 09:19 UK
Brave hearts of Scotland
The centre of Scotland is on the hillside 250 metres behind these workers
The workers were surprised to learn of their location

On day four of our series looking at the precise centres of Great Britain and the home nations, we reveal the men working at the heart of Scotland.
Most people would expect the heart of Scotland to be picturesque and peaceful.

But, as fate would have it, the country's geographic centre is blighted by a road, a railway line and power cables.

When BBC News Online finally pinpointed the exact location, we found a team of construction workers just 250 metres away.

"This is one of the most remote jobs I have had, but I had no idea we were in the middle of Scotland," said section engineer David Gibson.

A small brook at the centre of Scotland
A small brook runs past the site

"It's surprising the place is unmarked."

Mr Gibson and his team, from Carillion Rail, are spending 12 weeks at the site replacing a small bridge on the Perth to Inverness rail line.

On the hillside beside them is the centre of Scotland - grid reference NN 66784.93 71599.4 on an Ordnance Survey map.

The location is between Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie.

Despite the site being marred by the noise and view of traffic on the A9, the surrounding region is quite beautiful.

Just three kilometres to the west is the beautiful Loch Garry and Dalnaspidal hunting estate.


From a personal point of view, I can't think of a single reason (to build a monument)

Trevor Mouncey
Ordnance Survey

The estate is owned by the Adams family, from England, which visits regularly to hunt.

The property is also used for sheep faming and is run on a day-to-day basis by the Kennedy family.

The co-ordinates marking the centre of Scotland were calculated by the Ordnance Survey using a "centre of gravity" method.

To put it simply, it marks the point at which a cardboard cut-out of Scotland could be perfectly balanced on the tip of a pencil.

While the gravitational method is not the only way to calculate the centre of an irregular-shaped object, it is preferred by most mapping agencies.

The islands of Scotland were factored into the calculation.

Erosion and accretion

Ordnance Survey spokesman Trevor Mouncey said there would be little point installing a monument at the exact centre.

"From a personal point of view, I can't think of a single reason.

"It would only ever be absolute using a given method at a given time.

"As soon as that time of measurement passed, it would be somewhere else."

This is because of factors such as the tide, erosion and accretion, which gradually change the shape of Scotland's coastline.

Map showing the centre of Scotland

Over this week, BBC News Online is revealing what lies at the centre of each of the home nations.

The reports include:

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC News Online's Brady Haran
"There is some beautiful scenery at Scotland's centre"
BBC Scotland's Alan Grant reports
"There is no giant X to mark the spot"
BBC News Online's series of the exact centre of Great Britain and all the home nations

Around the country

In pictures
See also:

23 Oct 02 | Scotland
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes